After threatening another batting collapse, Fraserburgh eventually saw off the challenge of Knightriders in an important victory over the side just one place below them in Grade 3.
Fraserburgh won the toss, and Knightriders were put in to bat first at Mark Ironside’s request. That left Fraser Lawrance to open the bowling, and he very nearly got a dream start as he had an unsuccessful lbw appeal from only his second delivery. It looked as though both Lawrance and Jamie Clark would be made to pay for it when they were blasted around the ground for numerous boundaries.
That all changed when Alan Rennie replaced Clark. He forced the batsman into making a critical mistake that resulted in a catch for Chris Gospel almost straight away. Rennie continued to have success, as later in his first over he took another wicket – this time Lawrance taking the catch.
Even though the early momentum was all going against Fraserburgh, the partnership of Rennie and Lawrance were comin back with a vengeance. Rennie got both his and Fraserburgh’s third wicket in the 12th over, with the batting side on just 36, and it wasn’t long before Lawrance grabbed one for himself. There were some disappointments for the bowlers during this time though, as Clark put down a simple catch and numerous lbw appeals were perhaps controversially turned down throughout.
The chances just kept on coming for the bowlers even with those setbacks however, and Lawrance made up for Clark’s error by holding a catch off his own bowling with the last ball of the 17th over with the score on 43. At this point it looked like only a matter of time before Fraserburgh powered through Knightriders’ lower order batsmen to set themselves an easy target to chase down, but the wickets dried up. The 6th and 7th wicket partnerships proved frustratingly stubborn, not scoring a great number of runs but not conceding their wickets easily either. Clark broke the 6th, Lawrance taking a catch, but it wasn’t until the 37th over that wicket number 7 fell. With it came a nice moment for keeper Garry O’Neill who took his first catch behind the stumps in only his 3rd game, giving Rennie his 4th and final wicket of the innings.
After the breakthrough was made it was left to Lawrance to clean up, taking the final two wickets to bring his personal tally to 4 for the match as well. Knightriders amassed a total of 118, a total that Fraserburgh should have passed without too much trouble.
Early on that didn’t seem to be the case however. Fraserburgh’s opening partnership of Cory Bowie and Garry O’Neill was broken very early on after Bowie was bowled for just 4. This misery was compounded when Mark Oldham was run out just two balls later; showing signs of a possible early collapse that Fraserburgh has seen all too often already this season.
Fortunately that didn’t materialise, and Mark Ironside started his innings with a huge 6 into the car park that went some way towards settling everyone’s nerves. Ironside and O’Neill’s lengthy partnership was a display of composure when it would have been so easy to lose their heads and take unnecessary risks in an effort to get the runs as quickly as possible. Ironside eventually scored 29 – the highest of any of Fraserburgh’s batsmen, but his eventual departure brought Stuart Flowerdew to the crease, looking to make his first sizeable contribution of the season.
While he did produce his highest score of the season, his solitary run didn’t do that much to help Fraserburgh towards victory before he too was caught, after which Fraserburgh were 60-4 having batted for 20 overs.
Opener O’Neill departed in the following over for 14, leaving Rana Uppal to join Fraser Lawrance at the crease. His no-nonsense approach brought a flurry of runs – many of them in the form of 4s and 6s meant Fraserburgh were rapidly closing in on victory. His third 6 – a truly remarkable effort into the car park – left just 13 required, but he fell on 27 before he could see the game out. A forgettable duck from Craig Parkin only delayed the inevitable, as scores of 20 and 11 from Lawrance and Gospel saw Fraserburgh finally cross the finishing line for an important victory by 3 wickets.
Fraserburgh had been due to play Gordononians away in the semi-final of the Reid Cup on Sunday, but just 6 overs of play were possible before the game was abandoned due to rain. The match will be rescheduled for a later date.
As part of the club’s 150th anniversary celebrations, the club are holding a dinner on the 25th August. If you are a former that is interested in attending, please get in contact at Mark.Ironside@total.com.